Planet of the Apes Wins; CG Andy Serkis Can’t Lose

Posted by Gia Manry on Aug 8, 2011 in Cinema |

110807 - caesar

Everybody cue the banana jokes: Rise of the Planet of the Apes, the prequel to/reboot of 1968’s Charlton Heston flick Planet of the Apes handily beat out its competition at the box office this weekend. But there’s another, possibly more interesting story at work here than the tale of how humanity doomed itself by making super-intelligent simians: the tale of actor Andy Serkis, who has single-handedly become the go-to guy for awesome motion-capture CG acting.

Earlier today writer/actor/director Sandeep Parikh (best known as Zaboo on the web series The Guild) Tweeted the following:

  Good CG actors: Cesar from Apes, King Kong, Gollum. Bad CG actors: Jar Jar Binks, The Smurfs, January Jones.

Jokes about Ms. Jones aside, the important thing to note here is that Caesar, King Kong, and Gollum were all created via motion capture and performed by the same man: Andy Serkis, a British actor who was best known for his portrayal of Albert Einstein on the BBC’s Einstein and Eddington (alongside former Dr. Who David Tennant) until he was picked for the role of Gollum in Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy.

Now, it’s hard to compare these dramatic roles fairly to the comic relief characters of Jar Jar and the Smurfs, but it’s also of note that neither of them involved the same kind of actor-reliant motion capture that Serkis provides in his best-known films. Viewers may have adjusted to watching full CG flicks, but in films that fuse CG characters with real humans, maybe having that added human element in the character makes them more palatable than they might be otherwise.

Or maybe Andy Serkis himself is just that awesome.

Gia Manry is a Texas-based geek who you can hire. Or you could just follow her on Twitter.

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